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date: 21 September 2019

Clerk familylocked

  • Iain Gordon Brown
  •  and Duncan Macmillan


Scottish family of patrons, collectors, and amateur draughtsmen and architects. For 200 years, through five generations, they had a vital influence on the development of taste and patronage in Scotland. The family’s wealth and its artistic inclinations were founded in the early 17th century by (1) John Clerk (i), a merchant and art dealer who bought the Penicuik estate in 1646. His son Sir John Clerk (1649–1722) was created 1st Baronet of Penicuik in 1679. The 1st Baronet’s son (2) Sir John Clerk, 2nd Baronet of Penicuik, was a lawyer, keen antiquary, amateur architect and writer as well as patron and collector; he was responsible for building Mavisbank House, Lothian, in the 1720s. The 2nd Baronet’s eldest son (3) Sir James Clerk, 3rd Baronet of Penicuik, rebuilt Penicuik House and commissioned Alexander Runciman to decorate its interiors, including Ossian’s Hall. Sir James Clerk’s younger brother was (4) John Clerk (ii) of Eldin, a talented amateur etcher and draughtsman, whose son ...

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H. M. Colvin: A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600–1840 (London, 1954, rev. 2/1978)
Dictionary of National Biography, 63 vols and suppls (London, 1885–)